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Two convicted, while 31 acquitted in Orissa trial
ICC Note:

Verdict is seen as ‘derailment of justice’ and emboldening for more violent attacks against Christians.

11/19/2010 India (UCANEWS) – A fast track court set up for the speedy trial of cases related to anti-Christian violence in Orissa has convicted two people and acquitted 31 others in a double murder case.

Justice Shoban Kumar Das of the Kandhamal Fast Track Court-1 sentenced Netramani Pradhan and Bamdev Pradhan to six years hard labor and imposed a fine of 5,000 rupees (US$113.66) on both. They were convicted not of murder but the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

The two were part of a mob of 6,000 that attacked three villages during the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district of Orissa, eastern India.

Two people were killed and eight wounded in the attack that saw the torching of more than 200 Christian houses on Sept. 30, 2000, one month after the violence started.

The acquitted included Manoj Pradhan, a member of the state legislative assembly from the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people’s party).

Manoj Kumar Nayak, who supervises the relief and rehabilitation of the victims, said the Christian were punished for not leaving the villages.

Reacting to the verdict, he told on Nov. 19, “This is a case of derailment of justice to the victims.”

St. Joseph of Annecy Sister Justine Senapati, who works among the victims, says the verdict would embolden the accused to attack Christians “with more impunity while the victims would be more demoralized.”

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